For the second time in just six games, the UC Santa Barbara women’s volleyball team rallied from a 2-1 deficit to win a five-set thriller, downing host VCU 3-2 (25-23, 21-25, 21-25, 25-22, 15-13) in the final match of the VCU Invitational on Saturday night at Stuart C. Siegel Center.
Earlier in the day, the Gauchos defeated Navy, 3-1 (25-15, 20-25, 25-23, 25-21) to finish the weekend a perfect 3-0.
With three straight wins, UCSB improves to 5-1 to start the season, matching its best start since 2016. Senior outside hitter Lindsey Ruddins was named to the All-Tournament Team.
Ruddins paced the Gauchos with 21 kills, six digs and three blocks in their 3-1 victory over Navy to start the second day of action. As a team, UCSB hit .271 while Navy hit just .171. The Gauchos also held a 64-49 advantage in digs, 8-3 in aces, and 17-8 in blocks to dominate every facet of the match.
Torre Glasker was one of three Gauchos in double figures with 14 digs while Olivia Lovenberg and Zoe Flecktallied 12 apiece. Lovenberg also led the team with 22 assists for the double-double while freshman Romoni Vivao put together a solid match with 17 assist, seven digs and a game-high four service aces. Tallulah Froleyfinished with seven kills, five digs and four blocks.
In a sensational victory over the host Rams, the Gauchos were led by a huge 20-kill, 17-dig double-double from Ruddins while Vivao added a double-double of her own with 21 assists and 10 digs.
Despite hitting just .150 compared to .184 for the Rams, UCSB utilized its strong defense to create opportunities on offense. Santa Barbara registered 77 digs while VCU mustered 69 and the Gauchos also held a slight 21-20 advantage in total blocks.
Playing in her hometown state of Virginia, Rowan Ennis delivered a strong performance with 15 kills and four blocks while Kjia Rivers and Deni Wilson both added nine kills apiece. Four Gauchos reached double-figures in digs as Fleck led the team with 22 and Glasker added 12 to go along with Ruddins’ 17 and Vivao’s 10. Lovenberg led the team with 27 assists.
UCSB (5-1) returns for its home opener this Friday, Sept. 13 at 6:00 p.m. against San Diego in the Thunderdome Classic.